Progressive planning frontiers

By Sean Benstead | 27 November 2023

The origins of the English planning system can be traced to an increased awareness of the role of the built environment in public health outcomes which came to the fore in the 1870s, following decades of cholera epidemics in cities and London’s Great Stink. The goal of formal planning rules, as they emerged in 1909 – to improve the basic living standards of the most vulnerable – evolved over subsequent decades to become an ambitious system of state-led powers for local authority control over development.

Today, many of those early principles have been lost. Local development and regeneration activity is now predominantly delivered by the private sector and concerns are often raised that objectives to support good, healthy lives for local communities have taken a back seat to the need to capture value through rents and tax income.

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